Path ahead

A college degree and graduation mark the end of your career as a student and the beginning of your career in the news media industry. Making the jump can be challenging, and your success in the business will be strongly conditioned by the effort you put into "developing" your career.

Establishing & developing journalism careers

Your degree in journalism is the first step in developing a journalism career. Your continued success and happiness as a journalist can be powerfully affected by the effort you devote to your own career development. To continue to grow and expand as a journalist, you need to attend to professional organizations, your own personal network of friends in the business, the trade press, professional development your monitoring of job offers. Consider the following:

The trade press

Several magazines are devoted to reporting on the condition of and developments in various news and media industry segments. Many have job listings. Here is a sampling:

  • American Journalism Review, published by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland , describes itself as “a national magazine that covers all aspects of print, television, radio and online media.” Printed 10 times a year.
  • Broadcasting & Cable describes itself as “the leading voice of the television industry serving the broadcast, cable and syndication communities.” It is aimed at decision makers and investors but monitors the industry.
  • Columbia Journalism Review is published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University . CJR calls itself “America's premiere media monitor—a watchdog of the press in all its forms, from newspapers and magazines to radio, television, and cable to the wire services and the Web.”
  • RTDNA Web, home of the Radio-Television Digital News Association.
  • Editor & Publisher Web home of what used to be a weekly magazine dedicated to reporting on the newspaper industry and related online properties. Web site continues the tradition. Classified section carries job listings.
  • Folio says it “is dedicated to helping the entire publishing team navigate the expanding media options of the magazine brand.”

Professional Development

Historically, media organizations have not invested much in training and continuing education for journalists, even though media leaders recognize their value. Bot tom line: YOU need to be on the alert for educational opportunities and you need to petition your bosses for funding to go. You may need to pay your own way in some cases. Even though companies may invest little here, these sessions look good on resumes, and are great opportunities for networking. Most professional associations offer some kinds of training and workshops. Additionally, a few organizations specialize in training and education for journalists.

  • American Press Institute in Reston, Va., tends to specialize in management training for newspapers. Most of their classes are held at their Reston headquarters.
  • Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg , Fla. , specializes in creating “the Poynter experience.” Journalists and journalism educators are brought to St. Petersburg for week-long discussions of issues important to them and/or for skills honing.

Professional Associations

  • Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) brings journalists together to learn from each other. Annual conference in June, workshops throughout the year. Active e-mail discussion list. Magazine, IRE Journal . Web site has deep collection of workshop handouts and other resources. Manages and owns NICAR and has sister organization in Mexico .
  • National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting (NICAR) is a focused subsidiary of IRE. Annual conference in March, regional events at other times. Makes large government databases available to member journalists (for a fee). Sister organization in Denmark. Newsletter called Uplink .
  • Society of Professional Journalists is venerable organization for journalists. Known for their code of ethics and for their monthly (10 times a year) magazine, QuilI . Annual convention in the fall, regional conferences and workshops year round.

Other professional associations and their web sites are listed in the News Central J-Networking document.

Employment ads

Trade publications and associations publish announcements of journalism jobs / career opportunities. Especially relevant here are Editor & Publisher , Broadcasting & Cable , and Folio in the trade press. See also state and regional association newsletters and web sites (such as CSNE below). If you think you may want to do magazine writing, see the notes in the next section about WritersYearbook .

Additionally, a few Web sites are focused on journalism jobs. See:

Fellowships and more

Finally, two last points to consider.

First, fellowships, such as the John S. Knight fellowships, and Nieman Fellowships, are available to give mid-career journalists a chance to return to top Universities for a year to study non-journalism topics (like economics, genetic engineering) in support of the kinds of things you write about. These typically come with a stipend of $25,000 to $50,000. You agree ahead of time to return to your newsroom.

Second, sometimes a freelance career writing for magazines appeals to journalism grads. Writers Digest magazine publishes annually the Writers Yearbook, a directory of sorts for finding who is buying what kind of articles at what rate. Tells how to submit. Also useful for ideas for selling book proposals. Maintain related Web site at writersmarket.com.

Landing your first job

See class notes for the research – write – travel – telephone – interview process. If you really want a media job, you can get one.